In recent years, efforts by LGBT activists to insert “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (“SOGI”) as specially protected categories in the law have continued at the state and local levels, but they have not made much progress in Congress. With Democrats taking over the House in 2019, that may change. We can expect a renewed push for the sweeping and extreme bill called the “Equality Act.” Some members of Congress may even respond by proposing an ill-conceived compromise, dubbed “Fairness for All,” that combines a SOGI law with limited religious liberty protections.
In anticipation of these debates, FRC has already produced a new publication with a concise explanation of Why “Sexual Orientation” and “Gender Identity” Should Never Be Specially Protected Categories Under the Law. Written by Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg, the new Issue Brief explains that SOGI laws
- are not justified in principle;
- are invasive and cause tangible harms; and
- are coercive and cannot be reconciled with religious liberty.
For example, the paper distinguishes constitutional rights — which belong to every citizen equally — from the special protections granted by “non-discrimination laws.” Such laws always increase government interference in the free market, and SOGI laws do so for the sake of characteristics completely unlike those found in Civil Rights Act of 1964. Because they involve a large element of chosen behavior, “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” differ from traits that are clearly inborn, involuntary, and immutable, such as “race, color,” and “sex.” And unlike “religion,” they have no foundation in the text of the Constitution. The tangible harms of SOGI laws include costly lawsuits, and the threat to personal privacy that comes from abandoning biological sex as the grounds for separating male and female showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms. SOGI laws have been used to force some businesses — like those in the wedding industry — to violate their moral and religious convictions, and the “religious exemptions” sometimes offered do not adequately protect people of faith. Finally, such laws “legislate morality” — but it is the morality of the sexual revolution, stigmatizing as bigoted any disapproval of homosexual or transgender conduct.
If you’ve ever wondered how to respond to emotional pleas for “LGBT rights,” this publication will give you the answers you need.
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
EDITORS NOTE: This column with images from Family Research Council is republished with permission.